McFADYEN DOMINATES, BUT MASSIVE CRASH DECIMATES ORAN PARK FORMULA 3 FIELD One of the largest pileups in the history of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship has marred practice for round three of the championship at Oran Park ...
McFADYEN DOMINATES, BUT MASSIVE CRASH DECIMATES ORAN PARK FORMULA 3 FIELD
One of the largest pileups in the history of the Kumho Tyres Australian Formula 3 Championship has marred practice for round three of the championship at Oran Park today.
A five-car smash at a blind section of the racetrack badly damaged all cars involved and eliminated three competitors from the 20-car field entered this weekend.
All drivers involved were fortunately unhurt though the same could not be said for the ruined mess of carbon fibre and components that littered pit lane following the second of two practice sessions.
On track, Piccola Scuderia Corse driver Neil McFadyen dominated proceedings, topping first practice by 1.1 seconds and the second by 0.8 -- but it was the crash ten minutes into practice two that was the talking point of the day.
National Class competitor Graeme Holmes spun exiting turn seven (in the hollow just prior to the old Suttons corner) and was stranded in the middle of the racetrack.
Unsighted, McFadyen was the first car on the scene and was barely able to avoid the stranded Dallara -- the same could not be said, however, for Leanne Tander, who was following McFadyen at the time.
Tander, unaware of the stranded car and with no where to go, spun sideways into Holmes' car in a brutal initial impact. Scud Racing driver Mathew Radisich also made contact and ended in the wall, whilst Mat Sofi managed to avoid a majority of the crash yet unfortunately ended his day after hitting the then-stranded Radisich.
South Aussie youngster Jesse Wakeman then ploughed into the opposite side of Holmes' car and was the last to be involved.
Radisich, Wakeman and Holmes will be forced out of competition this weekend due to the severe damage caused to each car.
Jesse Wakeman and Graeme Holmes' cars were virtually destroyed, causing catastrophic damage to the engines, gearboxes and all four suspension 'corners' on each car. The impact on Holmes' and Wakeman's cars was enough to tear the inlet trumpets from the head of each Spiess engine.
Radisich's F304 suffered damage to three corners as well as hefty bodywork damage.
TanderSport and Transwest Racing both said that - after an initial survey of the damage - that they would be able to repair the cars of Leanne Tander and Mat Sofi, respectively.
As a testament to the safety of Formula 3 cars no drivers were injured with the worse complaint was stiff arms, backs and necks due to the force of the impacts.
Due to the days' running being counted as a private practice session and not part of the official race meeting (Which officially runs for two days), only a limited compliment of track marshals were on hand and as such drivers approaching the blind section of the Oran Park circuit had no idea or flag signalling of the stopped cars ahead.
First aid and safety vehicles were on the scene of the accident quickly.
McFadyen was relieved to have escaped the carnage today and said that things were progressing well following his teams' test last week.
"The car is running fantastically," He said. "The team and I had a good chance to test and we banked a lot of data which has progressed things really well. Things went well, but thankfully we avoided that massive crash.
"Thankfully no one was hurt. I saw the car in the hollow but its completely blind there. I just caught a shimmer of yellow and I got out of it (the throttle). I thought I would be able to slow down but it was impossible so I had to go to the outside which was between the car and the wall -- which was a very fine line -- and thankfully I made it through.
"We are looking good for this weekend and we're looking forward to getting on it for qualifying."
Leanne Tander was second in both sessions whilst Nathan Caratti was third in Practice one and James Winlsow -- on debut for Astuti Motorsport -- third in P2.
16-year-old Justin Tate moved into the National Class for the first time this weekend and so far it seems to be paying off -- topping his class in practice two and finishing an amazing seventh outright in his F301 Dallara.
Ash Samadi (Astuti Motorsport) topped the class in Practice one whilst Jesse Wakeman and Andrew Mill topped the trophy class in each session, respectively.